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Columnist Sharon Nesbit: I was vaccinated so my COVID-19 was a break-through case that darn near killed me. Still, my illness was not as severe as the illness that takes the unvaccinated.

NESBIT

My enemy these days is the oximeter.

I never dreamed I would own one. It is the thing that when you go to the dentist, they put on your finger to check your heart rate and blood oxygen level.

I do not know why, exactly. I have never flunked my oximeter reading and been tossed out of the dentist's office. I guess they have to prove that you are sufficiently alive before they get out the drill.

Now that I am living with an oxygen compressor — it looks a bit like R2D2 — to which I am linked by a 50- foot hose to my nose, I have my own oximeter. Two in fact. They are small and easily lost. And they don't go through the washing machine well either.

COVID-19, in case you just came out of cave, attacks the lungs. Once you are over the immediate illness, they send you home with oxygen —and ultimately a compressor like R2D2 — which puffs oxygen into your lungs and teaches your real lungs to do their balloon thing again.

I was vaccinated so my COVID-19 was a break-through case that darn near killed me. Still, my illness was not as severe as the illness that takes the unvaccinated.

The deal is — in order to get off this hose my blood oxygen level has to stay in the 90s. I am a writer. My normal position is seated in front of a computer. There, the oximeter is in the 90s and I am a healthy woman. But my caregivers seem to believe that I must be able to walk around and do stuff and stay in the 90s and that is trickier.

Did I mention I always hated physical education and exercise? Or how much I miss the pool and exercise class at Mt. Hood Community College?

So I remain tethered like a dog on a leash, getting to the end of it and barking without cause. Working toward the day when I can be back on what a friend calls "nose air."

Last week, officials announced that the deaths of this pandemic have surpassed those of the 1981-19 Spanish Flu during World War I. My grandfather had the Spanish Flu and survived, walking out of the death ward in France and coming home to start a family.

He did it without an oximeter.

Sharon Nesbit can be reached at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.


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